Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

May 20, 2013

Senator Nichols: My five cents


AUSTIN — Campaign disclosure heads to Governor

This week was a big win for a bill I coauthored regarding campaign disclosure. SB 346 cracks down on so-called "dark money," contributions made to tax-exempt political groups who influence elections but are not required to reveal their donors. This bill would require any dark money group that spends $25,000 or more on politics to disclose all contributors who gave more than $1,000. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, these groups spent more than $300 million in the 2012 campaign cycle alone.

After passing out of the Senate 23-6 last month, SB 346 passed out of the House 95-52 on Monday. It now heads to the Governor's desk and, if signed, will be a major step forward for transparency in the election process.

Cottage food bill advances

On Tuesday, I was proud to vote for HB 970 in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. This bill expands the ability of "cottage food" producers, individuals who make food in their homes, to produce more low-risk foods for sale and sell those foods outside the home.

Prior to 2011, it was illegal to make any foods in one’s home and sell it at all. However, in the spring of that year, we passed the first cottage food bill which provided that people could make specific low-risk foods such as cakes, cookies, and jams in their homes and sell directly to consumers, up to $50,000 per year.

The 2011 law has led to the establishment and growth of numerous small businesses across the state. HB 970 will build on this progress by allowing for other types of food to be sold, including foods such as candy, dried fruits and vegetables, and granolas. Perhaps most importantly, individuals will be able to sell these goods at new locations such as farmers’ markets, farm stands and community events.

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Local News
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